Calcutt extols merits of using social media for growers

"You can't afford not to pay attention to what people are saying on social media," Partners in Produce director and National Fruit Show chair Sarah Calcutt told delegates at the British Herb Trades Association conference.

Calcutt: speaker at conference - image: HW
Calcutt: speaker at conference - image: HW

"You may not use it right now, but the people who are in the market for your products do," she said. "They will do business with people they know, like and trust.

"Twitter is the best way to find out about your customer demographic," she added. Facebook "sticks around more, giving you a calendar of what a company has been up to as well as serving as a source of media for people like the press". But the two can "cross-pollinate each other" with content.

On workplace networking site LinkedIn, she said: "You need to spend some time getting to know it, but it can do some amazing things." Video hosting site YouTube provides another means of engaging with potential customers or collaborators. "Why not use it to share your next open day?"

However, all these do not render conventional company websites redundant, she insisted. "Social media needs a home. But a website needs a lot of maintenance to stay up in the (search engine) rankings. Social media can ensure this."

Having a "social media champion" in the business - "probably someone younger" - can ensure that initiatives remain active. But she suggested that QR (quick response) codes "have probably had their day - uptake wasn't what was imagined".

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